available Places to Stay in
About New Zealand...
... a land of many contrasts.
Passports and Visas
Ensure you have any necessary Visas and a Passport before leaving home - your travel agent will advise on this or contact a New Zealand Embassy or Trade Office.
You must have an onward or return ticket to a country for which you have the necessary approvals to enter. Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond the date you intend to leave the country. Sufficient money to support yourself during your stay - approximately NZ$1000 per month per person.
A Visa or travel permit is not required for:
- New Zealand citizen or Resident Permit holders
- Australian citizens travelling on an Australian passport
- Australian residents with a current Australian resident return visa
- Citizen of countries with a Visa waiver agreement with New Zealand (check the list of Visa Free Countries ).
- British citizens and other British passport holders who have evidence of the right to live permanently in the UK may be allowed to stay in New Zealand for up to six months.
Insurance is highly recommended for all visitors to New Zealand to ensure that unforseen events do not spoil your trip. Our Accident Compensation scheme will cover some of your personal medical costs in the event of an accident but not all. And this sceheme does not cover illness or loss of personal items.
This page provides a broad guide to the airlines that fly to New Zealand and within New Zealand. We recommend you contact your travel agent or the airlines directly for detailed information about flights.
New Zealand's international airports are at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Some flights from Australia also land at Hamilton, Palmerston North, Queenstown and Dunedin.
Domestic Airlines Within New Zealand
- Air New Zealand Reservations Phone: 0800 737 000
- Qantas Airways Reservations Phone: 0800 808 767
- Pacific Blue Reservations Phone: 0800 67 0000
International Airlines Flying To New Zealand
Air New Zealand Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
Australia Phone: 13 24 76
UK Phone: 0800 028 4149
USA Phone: 1 800 262 1234
Canada Phone: 1 800 663 5494
Qantas Airways Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
Australia Phone: 4654329
UK Phone: 0845 7 747 767
USA Phone: 1 800 227 4500
Emirates Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
Australia Phone: 1300 303 777
UK Phone: 0870 243 2222
Singapore Airlines Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
UK Phone: 0844 800 2380
Cathay Pacific Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
UK Phone: 0208 834 8888
Air Pacific (USA) Air Pacific (Canada) Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
Freephone: 1 800 227 4446
Jetstar Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
Australia Phone: 13 15 38
Pacific Blue Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
Australia Phone: 13 16 45
Malaysia Airlines Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
UK Phone: 0870 607 9090
Thai Airways Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
UK Phone: 0870 606 0911
Air Tahiti Nui (USA) Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
USA Phone: 1 310 662 1860
USA Freephone: 877 824 4846
Eva Air Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
UK Phone: 0207 380 8300
Korean Air Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
UK Phone: 0800 656 2001
Royal Brunei Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
UK Phone: 0207 584 6660
United Airlines Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
USA Phone: 1 800 864 8331
International: 1 800 538 2929
America Airlines Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
Australia Phone: 1 800 673 486
USA Phone: 1 800 433 7300
UK Phone: 0207 365 0777
Lufthansa Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
Australia Phone: 1 300 655 727
USA Phone: 1 800 645 3880
UK Phone: 0870 8377 747
British Airways Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
Australia Phone: 1300 767 177
USA Phone: 1-800-AIRWAYS
UK Phone: 0870 850 9850
Air Canada Sales, Reservations & Enquiries:
UK Phone: 0871 220 1111
USA Freephone: 1 888 247 2262
Culture and our people
New Zealand is regarded as a true multi-cultural society where cultural diversity is generally celebrated. And we have some growing pains, none of which will threaten the safety of travellers. Tensions come from factors like the settlement of significant numbers of immigrants from countries with a very different culture to our own. And as historical wrongs done to the native Maori race when this country was first colonised are addressed and compensated, so tensions between Maori and European peoples are publically aired. New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world where the aboriginal inhabitants are growing in numbers. With the Maori language being an official language and the number of people speaking it is growing rapidly, Maori cultural norms and practices are being increasingly seen outside of the tourist venues.
New Zealand's climatic advantages (moderate climate, high sunshine hours, no extremes of temperature) means that our people are very orientated to active and outdoor persuits. And being so distant from other countries has led to our people being very friendly, self-reliant and inventive.
New Zealand's warmest months are December to March; with winter June to August. Northern New Zealand is sub-tropical and the south temperate. For most of the North Island and northern South Island the driest season is summer. However in the South Island winter is the driest season for the West Coast, much of inland Canterbury, Otago and Southland.
New Zealand experiences much higher level of ultraviolet radiation than other countries and in the summer time, the ozone depletion zone covers much of the country, so sunglasses and a hat is strongly advised. Use a high SPF sunblock when outdoors, even on a cloudy day.
Tap water in our towns and cities is safe to drink straight from the tap. Water sourced from rivers and lakes may contain giardia and should be boiled or treated before drinking.
Adapters for the New Zealand 3 pin plug are widely available.
New Zealand dollars and cents are dispensed as bronze coins (10c); silver coins (20c and 50c); gold coins ($1 and $2); plus $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Currency services are available in all airports and major tourist centres.
Credit Cards and Travellers Cheques
All international credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, Diners, JCB) are widely accepted. Travellers' cheques may be cashed at banks, hotels and large stores in the main cities and tourist areas.
Most offices and businesses operate Monday-Friday, 8.30am-5pm with many tourist agencies and airlines having longer hours. Fuel is available 24 hours from petrol stations that may also stock food and newspapers. Shops are usually open 9am to 5.30pm Monday-Saturday with many supermarkets, grocery stores, large retail chains, shopping malls and markets also open on Sundays. Local convenience stores - dairies - usually open 7am-7pm daily.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
All purchases are subject to a 12.5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is required to be included in the advertised price. All visitors to New Zealand pay GST which is non-refundable when leaving New Zealand except for purchases from Duty Free stores.
Weights and Measures
New Zealand has used metric weights and measures since 1975. Some handy conversion factors are:
- 1m (metre) = 1.1 yards | 1 yard = .9m
- 1km (kilometre) = 0.62 miles | 1 mile = 1.61 km
- 1ha (hectare) = 2.5 acres | 1 acre = 0.4 ha
- 16°C = 61°F
Tipping and Service Charges
It is not expected, but is acceptable, to tip for excellent service and service charges are not added to hotel or restaurant accounts.
Most modern power packs for electronic items (battery chargers etc) are dual 110/230volt 50/60Hz although the 3-pin plug differs from US and UK standards. New Zealands AC electricity supply operates at 230 volts, 50 hertz.
New Zealand Post Shops are available in most areas and stamps can be purchased from supermarkets, book stores and grocery shops.
Public Holidays (2008 dates)
Most businesses and banks close on public holidays with all shops closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday - exceptions apply to service the tourism industry and travellers.
- New Year's Holiday 1-2 January
- various regional holidays (Anniversary Day)
- Waitangi Day (national day) 6 February
- Good Friday 21 March 2008, 10 April 2009
- Easter Monday 24 march 2008, 13 April 2009
- Anzac Day (war memorial) 25 April
- Queen's Birthday Monday 2 June 2008, Monday 1 June 2009
- Labour Day Monday 27 October, 2008, Monday 26 October 2009
- Christmas Day Holiday 25 December
- Boxing Day Holiday 26 December
Daylight Saving Time
New Zealand Daylight Saving Time (NZDST) applies from 2:00am on the last Sunday in September to 2:00am on the first Sunday in April of the following year inclusive and puts our time at 13 hours ahead of GMT.
Driving in NZ
Driving in New Zealand is a doddle compared to many other countries. And in other ways it can be a nightmare. First, we drive on the left hand side of the road - as the driver, always remember to always keep the centre line of the road on your side of the car. Second, the countryside is scenic everywhere and distractions therefore are everywhere. Third is that it is easy to underestimate driving times - even when distances are short - which can lead to fatigue if your journey is not properly planned. Fourth is that the standard of driving in this country reflects an historical lack of congestion.
Some of our important road rules:
- Keep to the left-hand side of the road at all times, including multi-lane highways.
- Road distances are measured in kilometres and speed in kilometre per hour
- When turning left, give way to traffic turning right and to traffic crossing or approaching from your right
- When the traffic light is red, you must stop at all times
- When the traffic light is amber, you must stop unless it is not safe to do so quickly
- The speed limit on the open road is 100km/h (60m/h) and 50km/h in urban areas - other speed limits may apply as road conditions allow.
- The driver and all passengers must wear seat belts at all times.
- Drinking and driving is considered a serious breach of road safety rules - the blood-alcohol limit is equivalent to 2 standard drinks.
For up-to-date information on roads call tollfree 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49), or refer to the Transit New Zealand website www.transit.govt.nz for country wide information.
- For riders of cycles and motorbikes, approved helmets must be worn at all times.
- Rear and front lights on cycles are required at night.
- Motorcyclists are advised to drive with a headlights on at all times.
- Cycling on motorways is banned.
Check out the Land Transport NZ website for details on the New Zealand Road Code, as well as cycle safety and other general motoring information.
International Driving Licences and Permits
Visitors can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months on a current drivers licence from your home country or on an International Driving Permit (IDP). If your licence is not in English, you should bring an English translation with you, or obtain an IDP. After 12 months you are required to convert to a New Zealand licence. Drivers must carry their licence or permit at all times when driving and you may only drive vehicles permitted on your licence. The common legal age to rent a car in New Zealand is 21 years. Driving Distances can seem longer in New Zealand than you may be used to in your own country. Our roads tend to be narrow and the nature of our countryside tends to mean they are windy.
Itineraries and Driving Routes
On these pages, you cn select an interest theme to guide your choices of Places to Stay and Things to Do. Themes like golf, food and wine, culture and history, gardens open to visit, great walks and nature tours. Even gay-orientated and pilot self-fly venues. Travel in 5-Star luxury or browse places to stay by type of location: city, country, beach or off-the-beaten-track stays.
Our range of pre-planned itineraries based on popular driving routes is also available, complete with gps data files and, for subscribers to our premium service, printable pages that cover the entire route in detail - all of the Things to Do, Sights to See and Places to Stay.
Maori call New Zealand 'Aotearoa' which may be loosely translated as 'The Land of the Long White Cloud'. New Zealand climate is heavily influenced by the mountains and the sea, giving a mainly temperate climate of mild temperatures, moderate rainfall, gentle but consistent winds and high sunshine hours throughout the country. Being an island nation, our weather can be unpredicatable, so it is advisable to listen to a weather forecast before travelling. For the most up-to-date weather information, ring Metphone for the location you will be visiting. There is a charge for these calls:
- 0900 99 909 for Northland and Auckland regions
- 0900 99 907 for Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions
- 0900 99 906 for Eastland, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, Wanganui, Manawatu and Wairarapa regions
- 0900 99 904 for Kapiti Coast and Wellington region
- 0900 99 903 for the South Island
New Zealand has a largely temperate climate. While the far north has subtropical weather during summer, and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10°C in winter, most of the country lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures, moderate rainfall, and abundant sunshine. Because New Zealand lies in the Southern Hemisphere, the average temperature decreases as you travel south. The far north of the country has an average temperature of about 15°C, while the deep south has a cooler 9°C average. January and February are the warmest months of the year, and July is the coldest.
New Zealand's average rainfall is high - between 640mm and 1500mm - and evenly spread throughout the year. As well as producing areas of stunning native forest, this high rainfall makes New Zealand an ideal place for farming and horticulture.
Most places in New Zealand receive over 2000 hours of sunshine a year, with the sunniest areas - Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay and Nelson/Marlborough - receiving over 2350 hours. As New Zealand observes daylight saving, during summer months daylight can last up until 9.00pm. New Zealand experiences relatively little air pollution compared to many other countries, which makes the UV rays in our sunlight very strong during the summer months. In order to avoid sunburn, visitors should wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats when they are in direct summer sunlight, especially in the heat of the day (11am - 4pm). While summer is sunnier than the other seasons, most regions in New Zealand have a relatively high proportion of sunlight during the winter months.
Four Seasons in One Day
New Zealand does not have a large temperature range, lacking the extremes one finds in most continental climates. However, the weather can change unexpectedly - as cold fronts or tropical cyclones quickly blow in. Because of this, you should be prepared for sudden changes in weather and temperature if you're going hiking or doing other outdoor activities.
Spring lasts from September to November, and New Zealand's spring weather can range from cold and frosty to warm and hot. During spring buds, blossoms, and other new growth bursts forth throughout the country and new born lambs frolic in the fields just before dusk.. Both Alexandra in Central Otago and Hastings in Hawke's Bay celebrate spring with a blossom festival. If you are into white water rafting, this is the time when melting spring snow makes river water levels excitingly high!
New Zealand's summer months are December to February, bringing high temperatures and sunshine. Days are long and sunny, nights are mild. Summer is an excellent time for walking in the bush and a variety of other outdoor activities. New Zealand's many gorgeous beaches are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, boating, and water sports during summer.
March to May are New Zealand's autumn months. While temperatures are a little cooler than summer, the weather can be excellent, and it is possible to swim in some places until April. While New Zealand's native fauna is evergreen, there are many introduced deciduous trees. Colourful changing leaves make autumn a scenic delight, especially in regions such as Central Otago and Hawkes Bay, which are known for their autumn splendour.
New Zealand's winter months of June to August bring colder weather to much of the country, and more rain to most areas in the North Island. Mountain ranges in both islands become snow-covered, providing beautiful vistas and excellent skiing. While the South Island has cooler winter temperatures, some areas of the island experience little rainfall in winter, so this is an excellent time to visit glaciers, mountains, and other areas of scenic beauty.
In Case of Trouble
Dial 111 and ask the operator for police, fire or ambulance services. For non-emergency calls, full instructions appear in the front of all telephone directories.
In the case of ill-health, public and private health facilities operate to a high standard of care which is not free to non-residents. The purchase of travel insurance is necessary. Doctors and medical services are listed in the front of all telephone directories.
Accident Compensation and Personal Insurance
In the case of personal injury from accidents, visitors are covered by the Government-run scheme Accident Compensation and Rehabilitation Insurance Corporation (ACC). Some medical/hospital expenses and physical disability compensation are covered, but not loss of earnings outside New Zealand. Civil actions for damages or consequential losses are not allowed so personal travel insurance must cover accidents.
Pharmaceuticals and Medicines
Medicines are available from pharmacies and chemists during normal shop hours and Urgent Pharmacies outside of those hours - these are listed in the front of the telephone book under Hospitals. Chemists also sell cosmetics and insect and sun protections. If you need to bring your own medications in to New Zealand, a doctor's certificate for sighting by NZ Customs is advised. Drugs sold over the counter in your country may not be available here without a prescription.
Bites and Stings
New Zealand is renowned for having no dangerous wildlife - no snakes and, up until recently, only the one poisonous spider (the Katipo) but now we have the white-tailed spider to watch out for.
Travellers' with Special Needs
If needed, it is best to check availability for accessible facilities and services prior to your departure. Do this with the Disability Resource Centre (phone number at the end of this section) and be sure to pre-warn travel operators of any special needs. In New Zealand law, guide and hearing dogs may accompany users anywhere there is public access but note that there may be quarantine restrictions on service dogs (the UK, Australia, Sweden, Singapore, Ireland, Hawaii and Norway exempted). Further information can be obtained from Disability Resource Centres. Enable New Zealand, National Office: Ph: 0-6-952 0011 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep in touch
Public payphones in New Zealand may be CardPhones (requiring pre-paid PhoneCards), Credit Card Phones (a surcharge applies) or Coin Phones. Local calls from residential telephones are free but businesses pay a per minute rate. Mobile phones can be hired at ports of entry. WiFi phones (internet based calling) is becoming increasingly common but free wireless hotspots are few and far between.
Important Phone Numbers
- 111 - Emergency services - FREE CALL (ask for police, fire or ambulance)
- 010 - Telecom Local operator
- 0170 - Telecom International operator
- 018 - NZ directory assistance
- 0172 - International directory assistance
- 777 - customer service for Vodafone mobile phone network
The international standard for writing phone a NZ number is +64-9-974 2146 where the + is for the international prefix (00 in NZ), the 64 is the NZ country code, the -9-is the national direct dial area code, followed by the local number. If calling from within NZ, replace the +64- with 0 when dialling.
Major international news channels are available from the 2 major free-to-air television service providers in NZ (TVNZ and TV3) which between them offer both terrestrial and satellite service plus there is a pay satellite service.
Tourist Information FM is available in most tourist areas 24 hours a day providing travel information services to visitors.
Visitor Information Network
Over 100 official Visitor Information Network locations are found throughout New Zealand. The NZ government centres are branded with a green i-SITE logo - other colours are used by private organisations that offer a similar service.